Trump says working with Xi to save China’s telecom giant ZTE
WASHINGTON/ HONG KONG
U.S. President Donald Trump unexpectedly said on May 13 he was working with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to prevent telecom giant ZTE from going out of business after it was hit by an American technology sales ban.
Writing on Twitter, Trump said he had issued instructions for officials to come up with a rescue plan, saying too many jobs were at risk, ahead of a fresh round of trade talks between the U.S. and China.
“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump said.
“Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”
ZTE announced last week that its major operations had “ceased” following the imposition of a ban by the Trump administration of
American sales of critical technology to the company, raising the possibility of its collapse.
ZTE’s fiber-optic networks depend on U.S. components and its cheap smartphones sold en masse abroad are powered by US chips and the Android operating system.
Without access to such technology, the company has been forced to partially shut down. “Major operating activities of the company have ceased,” ZTE said in a filing last week.
Beijing has closely followed the developments around ZTE, a company with 80,000 employees headquartered in southern China.
Employees of ZTE Corp are cheering the tweets by Trump that suggested a resolution is in sight for the devastating ban on sales to the Chinese company.
Trump’s tweet was reposted widely by ZTE employees on social media with comments expressing relief, taking it as a sign of a an impending settlement.
“Wow! Breaking good news!” a ZTE manager wrote on her WeChat account, pointing to Trump’s remark that the U.S. “Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done”.
“Almost there,” wrote another ZTE employee.
Asian shares were also mostly higher on May 14, with Hong Kong shares surging after Trump’s tweets, signaling a possible improvement in U.S.-China relations.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 22,873.61 while South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to 2,475.47. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.1 percent to 31,463.63 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China added 0.2 percent to 3,168.845.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.3 percent to 6,129.00. Taiwan shares rose but Southeast Asian indexes were mixed as Malaysian shares resumed trading after last week’s election. The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 0.4 percent to 1,854.52.
Meanwhile, China said on May 14 it is willing to work with the United States for a positive outcome in trade negotiations this week.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang made the comment at a regular briefing.
Vice Premier Liu He will attend the talks in Washington from May 15 to 19. High-level discussions in Beijing earlier this month appeared to make little progress but there have been signs recently of some easing in tensions.